Whether you’re at the stage of figuring out how many days in Florence to devote to visiting or you’ve already allowed for 3 or 4 days in Florence on your itinerary, you’re sure to fall hard for the Tuscan capital.
Low rolling hills covered in olive groves dominate the skyline, while an array of colourful houses line the banks of the River Arno, it can only be one place.
The goosebump-inducing Tuscan capital is home to art, history and culture. In the famous home of the Renaissance Masters, paintings are aplenty, but there’s more to see.
Basilicas, piazzas, palazzos, towers, markets and local delicacies are just some of the Florentine delights. Regardless of how long you have to spend in this iconic Italian city, you’re sure to fall absolutely in love.
Table of Contents
How Many Days in Florence?
Even before the serious research has begun, several of Florence’s famous sites spring to mind: the Uffizi Gallery, Michelangelo’s David and the Basilica di Santa Croce. However, there are other jewels in Florence’s coveted crown.
To make time for each and every attraction, you’ll be wondering how many days to spend in Florence. In order to visit all of the city’s main attractions, you’ll need to spend a minimum of 3 days in Florence.
If you’d prefer to travel at a more leisurely pace, then 4 days will give you a bit more time to explore the city. The extra day will add to your itinerary, as you may even have time for a day trip to places like Pisa, Lucca or Siena or even sip wines in the world-famous Chianti region!
Keep in mind that if you’re planning to visit Florence in winter (particularly in December), you’re likely going to want to budget time for winter activities like visiting Christmas markets or ice skating along with the other things to do in this beautiful city.
Getting To & Around Florence
The nearest airport to Florence is Peretola, which sits around 4km away from the city. Buses operate from the airport into the city, but the easiest transfer option is the tram.
Pisa Airport is another arrival option too. This is one of the largest airports in Italy and caters for both international and domestic flights. To hop on over to Florence, take a bus from Pisa airport to Pisa Centrale station and then a train to the central station in Florence. You’ll be in Florence in a few hours.
Florence is also easily connected by both bus and train to many other Italian cities, including Venice, Rome, Genoa, Turin and Milan among countless others. It’s also possible to head to La Spezia to visit Cinque Terre direct from Florence. You can check schedules here.
The best way to make the most of your time in Florence is by using your feet. Florence is a highly walkable city, you can walk from one side of the city to the other in around 30 minutes. Make sure to take some good walking shoes, and you’ll be able to stare up at the churches, cathedrals, piazzas and columns along the way without your feet aching.
If your feet get weary, make use of Florence’s public transport network. While it isn’t as extensive as other Italian hotspots, buses and trams operate throughout the city. Public transport is cheap too.
Tickets can be purchased from Tabaccherias, but remember you’ll need to validate them once you’ve boarded. We recommend using CityMapper to navigate routes that you’ll need.
3 to 4 Days in Florence Itinerary
Tuscany is a tourist hotspot and Florence is its beating heart. During the summer months, holidaymakers swarm museums, galleries and piazzas. When you’re planning a trip under the Tuscan sun, a Florence itinerary is a must-have if you have any chance of navigating the city.
Day 1 – City Centre Highlights
Santa Maria del Fiore
To pack everything into 3 days, you’ll need to be up early to beat the hordes of holidaymakers. It can be a great way to get your bearings to book a guided walking tour. This way, you will have a knowledgeable guide give some historical context to all of the sites you’ll be seeing.
Otherwise, start your day in the heart of the city in the Piazza del Duomo. Before you’ve even stepped into the piazza, you’ll spot the brown-sloping tiled dome of Florence’s cathedral: Santa Maria del Fiore.
The cathedral’s marble, pink and green facade is just as striking as its roof. Take your time to appreciate the outside, before heading through its doors.
As the third-largest church in the world, there’s a lot to see. Entry tickets into the cathedral cost €30. While this might seem like a steep price, the ticket includes entry into: Brunelleschi’s Dome, Giotto’s Bell Tower, Baptistery, Opera del Duomo Museum and Santa Reparata.
As well as being able to see a number of features, the ticket is also valid for a 3-day period. This means you can come and go as you please during your trip to Florence.
Piazza della Signoria
Right around the corner from Santa Maria del Fiore lies another piazza, Piazza della Signoria. For hundreds of years, the piazza has been the political heart of life in Florence. Standing tall in the piazza is the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence’s town hall where special events are held.
Built as a castle, the Palazzo Vecchio is 94 meters high, which you can climb for beautiful views of the city. Inside you’ll find a replica of the famous David, but there’s more too.
Each room in the old palace is decorated differently and packed with other gems. You can explore the palace independently or a guided tour can be organised here.
San Lorenzo Central Market
After you’ve soaked up the skyline, walk over to the San Lorenzo Market – also referred to as the Mercato Centrale di Firenze. Holiday-makers flock to the outdoor area of the market in their droves to nab a leather bag or a belt at rock-bottom prices.
The inside part of the market is filled with places to grab a bite to eat too – perfect for something on the go. Be sure to find the bronze boar statue (il porcellino) while you’re there rub his snout and put a coin in his mouth for luck.
Once you’ve had your fill of a busy and bustling Italian market, walk over to the Uffizi Gallery. This is one place in Florence where you can’t turn up ill-prepared.
Before you’ve even touched down in Florence, we recommend booking your tickets the moment you’ve worked out a vague plan. If you don’t book a ticket in advance, you’ll end up spending your trip queueing for entry.
Tickets to the gallery can be purchased here. While they may seem pricey, visitors to the gallery can expect to spend three hours walking around the gallery. Artwork to keep your eyes peeled for include The Birth of Venus, Laocoön and his Sons and The Coronation of the Virgin. It is also possible to organise a guided tour here.
End your first day dawdling along the Ponte Vecchio – Florence’s famed bridge. The bridge is home to independent goldsmiths and jewellers.
Day 2 – Visit Florence’s Museums & Galleries
San Marco Museum
Start your second day in Florence at the San Marco Museum. Located in a former monastery, the museum is the proud home of frescoes and other paintings.
Tickets can be bought at the door or can be purchased cheaper online here. If this fee is a little out of your price range, then it’s still worth the walk to the San Marco Museum to ogle at the outside alone.
Once you’ve finished at the San Marco Museum, walk over to the Accademia Gallery (it only takes 2 minutes). You might not have heard of this gallery, but you’ll have heard about what’s inside: Michelangelo’s famous sculpture, the David.
Once again, you’ll need to book tickets for the Accademia Gallery and you can purchase them online here. After you’ve paid the entry fee, you’ll be able to make a beeline for the David.
But before you ogle at one of the most famous marble statues in the world, enjoy the lesser-known statues and other pieces of art too. You might even be surprised at what you find. It is also possible to organise a guided tour here.
After you’ve had your fill of all the art that the Accademia Gallery has to offer, head to the Palazzo Medici for a spot of history. Also known as the Palazzo Medici Riccardi, this medieval palace was once the home of the Medici family.
There is an entry fee into the palace and you’ll need to pay extra if you want to see the exhibition on display. The exhibition often changes, so it’ll be a decision to make on the day as it’ll depend on your own interests.
Basilica di Santa Croce
To end the day, go to Basilica di Santa Croce, Florence’s other famous church. This Franciscan church has been an important part of religious life in Florence for centuries.
It’s also a burial place for the famous in Florence with Michelangelo, Galileo Galilei, and Rossini buried there as well as a memorial to Dante. You can buy skip-the-line tickets here.
Day 3 – Brancacci Chapel, Palazzo Pitti & Boboli Gardens
Now it’s time to head south of the river and explore the other side of Florence. The first place on your list should be Brancacci Chapel. This is a chapel inside the church of Santa Maria del Carmine.
The chapel is home to one of the supreme masters of Renaissance paintings, and you don’t need to enjoy art to appreciate the skill and technique of the alfresco.
From there head to Palazzo Pitti. This vast palace is one of Florence’s largest architectural triumphs.
Originally built for the Pitti family, the palace is now home to several museums and galleries including the Palatine Gallery, the Royal Apartment, and the Gallery of Modern Art to name a few. Tickets to the palace can be pricey, but you’ll spend an hour ogling at the artefacts on offer. You can pre-purchase tickets here.
Situated directly behind the Pitti Palace are the Boboli Gardens. Known as the green lung of Florence, the Boboli Gardens are a reprieve from Florence’s towering structures and churches. Described as an open-air museum has it all.
It has old oak trees that are hundreds of years old, sculptures and fountains. You can save money and buy a combined ticket to both the Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens.
Spend your evening soaking in the sunset views at the Piazzale Michelangelo where you’ll be able to see the sun go down across the entirety of the city. Piazzale Michelangelo is on a hill on the south bank of the River Arno and gives the best panoramic views of the city.
While you can walk up to the hill (there are several great walking routes), you can also hop on bus number 12 or 13 from the city centre to save your weary legs.
Day 4 – Day Trip to Pisa
If you have 4 days, there are a few ways you can spend your final day. If you’ve purchased any multi-day passes, then make use of your time and soak up any final attractions you rushed or missed the first time.
Another way to spend the last day of your Tuscan adventure is by visiting another bucket-list destination.
There are so many towns to visit near Florence and throughout the Tuscan countryside, you’ll be spoilt for choice. But there’s one strong contender that comes to mind: Pisa.
A day in Pisa
By train, Pisa is just over an hour away on a direct train. Once you’ve arrived in Pisa, you should make a beeline for the Leaning Tower of Pisa as it gets very busy.
Other surrounding sites that are worth your time and your cash include Piazza del Duomo, Cathedrale di Pisa and the Battistero di San Giovanni. While it might sound like a lot for a day trip, Pisa is very compact and all the main sites sit on top of each other. It is also possible to visit on a guided tour.
Where to Stay in Florence
Hotel Bellavista – A great option if you’re looking for a mid-range hotel close to the train station and within walking distance of the main attractions. There are a range of different rooms available with the option to include breakfast in your nightly rate.
25hours Hotel – If you’re after a bit more luxury during your stay in Florence, this hotel offers a range of rooms perfect for couples. Breakfast is included in the nightly rate and there is a fitness centre, restaurant and bar on site.
Ostello Bello Firenze – One of the best options in Florence if you’re looking for a hostel – they are centrally located and offer both a combination of dorms and private rooms.
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse other options in Florence
There’s a lot to do in Florence, and there are a lot of entry fees to pay for to boot. If you’re considering going around every museum, gallery and basilica, it might be worth purchasing The Florence Pass or the Uffizi and Accademia Pass as they’ll help you save some cash.
You might’ve marched around Florence in 3 days or spent an extra day sauntering around in the Tuscan sun. However, you’ve spent your time in Tuscany, we hope you’ve enjoyed your time in Florence.
Are you planning to visit Florence? Have any questions about this itinerary? Let us know in the comments!